Intra-household dynamics and farming...
 Farming systems research and extension:...
 Future directions for FSR/E
 Relationship between FSR/E and...
 Should FSR/E move towards greater...
 Miscellaneous news and notes
 Farming systems research in the...

Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071908/00018
 Material Information
Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Alternate Title: FSSP newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Farming Systems Support Project
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: The Project
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1983-
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- International cooperation -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (spring 1983)-
Issuing Body: Issued by: Farming Systems Support Project, which is administered by: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
General Note: Title from caption.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071908
Volume ID: VID00018
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 10387162
lccn - sn 84011294

Table of Contents
    Intra-household dynamics and farming systems case studies
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Farming systems research and extension: Status and potential in low-resource agriculture
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Future directions for FSR/E
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Relationship between FSR/E and single-commondity research programs
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Should FSR/E move towards greater inclusion of inter- and intra-household issues, gender issues and non-farm income generating activities?
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Miscellaneous news and notes
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Farming systems research in the institute of agricultural research, Ethipoia: Evolution, impact, issues
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text

Volume Five, Number Three
Third Quarter, 1987

I W Farming Systems Support Project Newsletter

Intra-Household Dynamics

and Farming Systems Case Studies

The Population Council and The
Farming Systems Support Project
have developed a set of seven teach-
ing cases which directly address the
relationship between an understand-
ing of intra-household dynamics and
the design and extension of new
technologies for improving farm pro-
duction. Each case, in two or three
sequenced sections, provides trainees
with information drawn from actual
project experience with which they
can analyze relationship of gender

roles and intra-household dynamics
to the farming system and make de-
cisions about future project activities.
The seven cases, described below, are
accompanied by background papers,
a conceptual framework for analyz-
ing the cases, guidelines for studying
a case, and teaching guidelines.
Based on the work of the Adaptive
Research Planning Team in Central
Province, Zambia, the material in-
cludes initial diagnostic surveys, labor

survey, on-farm trial protocols and
results and special studies on decision
making and female headed house-
holds. It is a good beginning case and
can be used alone or with other cases
for either short term training or a
longer term classroom situation. By
Charles Chabala and Robert Nguiru.
Improvement in the production of
staple cereals and other crops was the
objective of the Purdue University
and the Semi-Arid Food Grain Re-

Case Study Workshop Following FSR/E Symposium

The Farming Systems Support
Project and the Population Council
invite you and your colleagues to
participate in an introductory case
study workshop on Intra-Household
Dynamics and Farming Systems
Research and Extension. This work-
shop will be held Thursday afternoon
and Friday morning (October 22 and
23) following the FSR/E Symposium
and FSSP meetings. This is an ideal
opportunity to try out the cases and
consider their use for academic or
training courses.
Since 1985, FSSP and the Popu-
lation Council have collaborated on
developing a set of seven teaching
cases designed to enhance partici-
pants' understanding of why an
explicit attention to intra- or inter-
household and gender issues by the

case method is highly participatory.
The cases put before participants
data from actual projects and an
analytical framework for organizing
information for intra-household
analysis. Using this material, dis-
cussion in small and large groups
provides an opportunity for partici-
pants to analyze and make recom-
mendations concerning the next
steps of the project.
Recently, the Zambian case was
taught very successfully as an intro-
duction to a CIMMYT Networkshop
held in Lusaka, Zambia. Vigorous
discussion of a common set of ma-
terial and analytic framework set
the pattern and carried over into
four more days consideration of
specific topics on the application
of IHH analysis and material from

participants' own projects. A dis-
cussion of this and other models
for using the cases will close the
A fee of $15 will be charged to
cover one lunch and the space and
materials costs of the workshop.
The workshop will end no later
than 2:00 pm on Friday.

For further information please
Hilary Sims Feldstein
RFD 1, Box 821
Hancock, New Hampshire 03449
(603) 525-3772
or Susan Poats, FSSP
3028 McCarty Hall
Gainesville, Florida 32611
(904) 392-2309

search and Development project
(SAFGRAD) in three villages of the
Mossi plateau of Burkina Faso. The
case includes initial diagnosis, the
results of three years of on-farm
trials, and labor studies. This case is
particularly suitable for a longer
term training situation and for
audiences with technical interests.
By Joseph G. Nagy, Herbert W. Ohm,
and Sibiri Sawadogo.
This case covers eight months of
an on-farm testing project for varietal
and fertilizer technology components
conducted by the International Cen-
ter for Tropical Agricultural (CIAT)
and the International Center for
Fertilizer Development (IFDC) in
Pescador, Colombia. The material
includes a description of the com-
position and objectives of the multi-
disciplinary research team, successive
stages of information generated to
design and evaluate the experimenta-
tion phase, design of on-farm trials
and the generation of additional
information regarding women's ac-
tivities related to production and
consumption in the farming system.
This case works well in both short
and long term training and with
general and technical audiences. It
is particularly useful for looking at
different disciplinary perspectives
towards technology design, innova-
tive approaches in diagnostic re-
search, and the inclusion of consump-
tion considerations. By Jacqueline
This case describes diagnostic
surveys and a proposed intervention
undertaken in the Mabouya Valley
of St. Lucia by the Caribbean Re-
search and Agricultural Development
Institute (CARDI). The area is dom-
inated by plantation agriculture on
the valley floor and small farms and
subsistence farms at higher eleva-
tions. The three parts-the diagnostic
surveys, case profiles, and proposed
interventions-may be used in several
ways in both short and long term
training. It is best used as a second
case in a series of cases. By Vasantha

This case describes an agroforestry
research and extension project under-
taken by a non-government organiza-
tion, CARE/Kenya, with assistance
from the International Center for
Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)
in the Western Province of Kenya.
Diagnostic and extension activities
are done with groups and individual
farm households. Material includes
initial diagnosis, the training for and
methodology used by field personnel
to insure that both women and men
were included, the results of formal
trials and further research, and on-
farm design activity. This case is
particularly suited for looking at
methodologies for working with
groups and for applying benefits
analysis to technology choice. It is
suitable for both short term and long
term teaching situations. By Dianne
Rocheleau, Louise Buck and Hilary
The primary objective of TROP-
SOIL's multidisciplinary team is the
development of techniques for soil
management in Sitiung, a transmi-
gration site in Sumatra which includes
migrants from Java as well as indige-
nous peoples. The case includes
technical information on soils and
forages, procedures and results of the
initial sondeo, on-farm trials, time
allocation studies, nutrition and
income studies, and forage trials.
Both ethnic and gender differences
influence farmer preferences and
technological possibilities. This case
is particularly rich and is best used in
a long term training situation. By
Vicki Sigman, Carol Colfer, et al,
University of Hawaii.
This case depicts a project to
improve arable production in the
Mahalapye District of Botswana, an
area with low and erratic rainfall,
an economy dominated by cattle
and a high percentage of female
headed households. Included are
a summary of the technical and
socio-economic research during the
first three years of the project with
increasing specification of household

characteristics and dynamics, the
fourth season's trials and farmer
evaluations, and additional diagnostic
work targeted on poorer predomin-
ately female households. This case is
best used in a longer training situat-
tion. By Doyle Baker.O

Case Study Materials
and Services Available

Written Materials: For use by
trainees or for self study.
Volume 1: Case Material
Background articles on Gender
Roles and Farming Systems and
on Farming Systems Research;
Conceptual Framework for ana-
lyzing household dynamics and
farming systems; Introduction to
the Case Study Method; and
Individual Case Studies
Volume II: Analysis and Teaching
Teaching by the Case Study
Method and examples; Best use
for each case; and Analysis and
Teaching Notes for individual

Experienced consultants for
training, case writing, or project
One day or two day pre-conference
One week course on Intra-house-
hold Dynamics and Agricultural
Research and Extension
One week course on developing
own case materials
Training of trainers

For more information contact:
Dr. Susan, Poats, FSSP
3028 McCarty Hall
Gainesville, Florida 32611
(904) 392-2309
Hilary Sims Feldstein
Managing Editor
FRD 1, Box 821
Hancock, New Hampshire 03449
(603) 525-3772

Farming Systems Research and Extension:

Status and Potential in Low-Resource Agriculture*

Susan Poats, Daniel Gait, Chris Andrew, Lisette Walecka, Peter Hildebrand and Kenneth McDermott

About the authors: All have been affiliated with the Farming Systems Support Project, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, and were at the
time of writing. Dan Gait, formerly Associate Driector of FSSP, is currently with Winrock International, Department of Agriculture, Kathmandu, r

While the FSR/E approach is primarily oriented toward
addressing the described needs of any homogeneous
groups of farmers, FSR/E began with, and continues
to place the greatest emphasis upon, those groups of
small, limited-resource farmers and households. There
should be no conflict between OTA's goals for this
group and the FSR/E approach. There are, however,
different potentials and limitations for the FSR/E
approach in helping national agricultural research and
extension systems play a lead role in individual goal

1) "To Increase People's Quality of Life."
Potentials. FSR/E operates from the premise that
increasing productivity by generating technology
appropriate to the needs of farmers will contribute
toward improving the general welfare of farmers and
farm families. Because technology generated in the
FSR/E approach involves farmers, their concerns
regarding the potential impact of the technology on
their quality of life can be incorporated into the
design and testing of technology. In FSR/E, economic
analysis to evaluate the potential of technology to
increase income is included from the beginning of the
process. Overall evaluation of technological solutions
considers the whole system and its interactions with
subsystems, and thus offers a better potential than
conventional commodity research for generating
technology that will enhance the quality of farmers'
life rather than just the productivity of a single crop.
Limitations. FSR/E cannot solve all problems
associated with people's quality of life. It can contri-
bute, but it is not a panacea. Linkages of FSR/E with
other efforts to improve rural life must be made.
FSR/E is not incompatible with general rural develop-

ment, and must be viewed as a part of it, not a replace-
ment. FSR/E has, within the past three years, greatly
enhanced its capability to deal with household and
gender issues. Efforts are being made to disaggregate
data and to look more closely at who is doing the
work, who has access to technology and who receives
the benefits of better technology. This methodological
improvement is not complete, and not practiced yet by
the majority of practitioners. Training of practitioners
in how to collect and use data on household dynamics
and gender in the design, testing and evaluation of
technology is needed. The training case studies devel-
oped by FSSP and the Population Council (Feldstein
and Poats, 1985) will help improve this area. In partic-
ular, FSR/E needs this methodological improvement to
better evaluate the potential of new technology to
impact positively on one member of the household and
negatively on the other.
FSR/E has not focused much attention on increasing
rural employment, however, practitioners are begin-
ning to measure productivity in terms of returns to
labor and returns to capital, instead of just returns to
land in order to assess what impacts new technology
might have for situations of labor scarcity and labor
excess. FSR/E has only begun to conceive of the link-
ages within diagnosis, design and evaluation of tech-
nology to consumption and nutrition issues. Franken-
berger (1985) outlines how this can be improved, and
practitioners are experimenting with procedures. Of
greater necessity is the improvement of the general
linkages between all agricultural development (FSR/E
included) with efforts to improve rural health and
2) "To Reduce Vulnerability."
Potentials. FSR/E can reduce the vulnerability
farmers face when adopting new technologies or

*Excerpt from Farming Systems Research and Extension: Status and Potential in Low-Resource Agriculture, a report prepared with support
from the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), Congress of the United States, as part of a larger study on Low-Resource Agriculture in Developing
Countries: Implications for Africa.
Four excerpts were selected from the report to OTA for publication in the FSSP Newsletter and appear in consecutive order in this issue: 1) Farm-
ing Systems Research and Extension: Status and Potential in Low-Resource Agriculture; 2) Future Directions for FSR/E; 3) Relationship Between
FSR/E and Single-Commodity Research Programs; and 4) Should FSR/E Move Towards Greater Inclusion of Inter- and Intra-Household Issues,
Gender Issues and Non-Farm Income Generating Activities?
The authors wish to acknowledge the interpretation and insight provided through the comments and observations of many people, including
Michael Collinson, Cornella Butler Flora, Steve Kearl, David Norman, Hubert Zandstra and many others in formulating the OTA report. Their support
and contributions are greatly appreciated. Much of what is written here is based upon the synthesis and analysis of the experiences shared by many
practitioners of farming systems research and extension, especially those affiliated with the FSSP, and by the farmers they serve. If not for them there
wouldn't be a farming systems knowledge base.

considering changes in their farming system because
farmers are involved themselves in the process of
developing the technology. Because technology is
tested and evaluated on farmers under farmer manage-
ment and by farmers before it is recommended for
dissemination, the potential vulnerability is consid-
ered in the development process and the technology
can be altered in order to reduce vulnerability.
Limitations. There are no guarantees in reducing
vulnerability. Other factors and changing ecological,
social and political conditions can alter the potential
of a technology to increase (or decrease) farmer
vulnerability. Continued monitoring of new tech-
nology through its dissemination to other farmers
will help to evaluate vulnerability. Problems identified,
even as dissemination is underway, can be addressed
in subsequent stages of diagnosis and design. Better
understanding of gender issues among practitioners
will allow them to better evaluate vulnerability of
women farmers in their ability and willingness to
adopt new technology.

3) "To Maintain, Build Upon, and Improve Indig-
enous Resources and Systems."
Potentials. The holistic premise of FSR/E is its
greatest potential for being able to achieve this goal.
The interdisciplinarity of FSR/E and strong inclusion
of social scientists in the technology-generating process
means that questions and issues of maintenance and
improvement of indigenous systems are more likely to
be addressed than within strict commodity improve-
ment schemes.
Limitations. FSR/E to date, has still largely been
based in research entities focused on crop production.
There has been little attention to and involvement of
natural resource conservation and livestock or pastoral
systems, thus questions involving the linkages to and
impact at regional and macro levels has been limited.
The French R-D (theme lourd) model does address
these issues and increasing exchange of information
between practitioners will hopefully improve this area.

4) "To Ensure Economic and Evnironmental
Potentials. The potential of FSR/E to address this
goal is the same as for the previous goal. This potential
is enhanced through the linkage of FSR/E with efforts
to look at the larger system (French R-D) or the devel-
opment of new farming systems (NFSD).
Limitations. However, the issue of sustainability in
the generation of new technology has not been a
strong feature of FSR/E as practiced. Many FSR/E
practitioners do not include the natural system in their
analysis of the impact of new technology, assuming
that the new technology impacts only on the portion

of the natural environment which is already used for
agricultural production. Perspectives, concepts and
tools from agroforestry and natural resource conser-
vation are being adopted by some practitioners. Further
communication of these experiences and then training
in the necessary skills will improve the ability of
FSR/E to address this goal.
A second area of limitation lies within the diagnostic
process itself. FSR/E "with a pre-determined focus" on
specific crops has little likelihood of addressing larger
questions of economic and environmental sustainabil-
ity. More emphasis on FSR/E "in the small," especially
in national programs, will improve the ability of FSR/E
practitioners to ask questions addressing these issues.
Finally, many FSR/E practitioners have not fully
engaged the farmer in the diagnosis of problems, and
therefore indigeneous practices to ensure economic
and environmental sustainability have not been ex-
plored. The fact that farmers themselves may have
rational means of addressing these issues, and that
researchers and extension workers can learn these
for use in the improvement of the system as a whole,
is an area that needs far greater attention.

5) "To Improve the Quantity and Quality of
Agricultural Production."
Potentials. This is the overall goal of FSR/E. Be-
cause FSR/E specifically addresses the problems of
low-resource farmers, and such farmers in many
countries, especially in Africa, comprise up to 90
percent of all farmers, FSR/E does have the potential
to contribute substantially to the general improve-
ment of the quantity and quality of agricultural
Limitations. The limitations of FSR/E in terms
of this goal are the same as the limitations and needs
for improvement listed under previous goals.

6) "To remove or reduce production, marketing,
storage, and processing bottlenecks."

FSR/E practitioners are increasingly addressing the
livestock issues and focussing attention on the linkages
between crop and animal production in the diagnosis
of problems and the design of potential solutions.
FSSP has sponsored several efforts to improve the
methdology of on-farm experimentation with livestock
and is collaborating closely with I LCA on this topic.
Increased attention of FSR/E practitioners to tech-
nologies such as animal traction is also improving the
understanding of relationships between crop produc-
tion, crop residue use, labor involved in the care of
traction animals, and the management of traction

Potentials. FSR/E is currently applied primarily
to the reduction or elimination of production bottle-
necks, and most of the efforts reported to date deal
with this aspect. However, some practitioners are
successfully working with a "food systems" perspec-
tive (Rhoades and Potts, 1985) and using FSR/E
methods to improve storage systems, food process-
ing and marketing. Expansion of the perspective to
include the food systems has great potential for
addressing many of the activities that are often the
responsibility of women (food processing, storage,
marketing and preparation).
Limitations. More practitioners need to expand
their view beyond food production perse and include
accounting and review of technological adjustments
for processing, storage, marketing and preparation of
food. This expansion will benefit the incorporation of

gender issues into FSR/E methodology, however,
caution will have to be taken not to assume that these
areas are only the domain of women, nor that women
are only involved in these activities.O

Feldstein, Hilary and Susan Poats. 1985. "Case Studies for
FSR/E Training: Concepts and Format." Paper presented
at KSU Farming Systems Research and Extension Sympo-
sium. October. Manhattan, Kansas.
Frankenberger, Timothy. 1984. "Inclusion of Food Consump-
tion Concerns in Farming Systems Projects." Prepared for
the Nutrition Economics Group, Technical Assistance
Division. Office of International Cooperation and Devel-
opment, USDA. Washington, D.C.
Rhoades, Robert E. and Michael J. Potts. 1985. "Generating
Appropriate Technologies with Small Farmers: The CIP
Approach." Internatonal Potato Center (CIP). Lima, Peru.

Future Directions for FSR/E

Susan Poats, Daniel Gait, Chris Andrew, Lisette Walecka, Peter Hildebrand and Kenneth McDermott*


As the Mode of Conducting Research and Extension
There continues to be a strong demand by African,
Asian and Latin American countries for new projects
which incorporate,or are based on,the FSR/E approach.
This demand was reflected at a recent conference held
in the Ivory Coast and sponsored by the World Bank,
to discuss research and extension linkages. All countries
represented affirmed that brief pre/diagnostic farmer
studies are essential and that FSR/E must become a
mode of research and extension integration. All agreed
that each country must adapt from all FSR/E metho-
dologies and from all extension approaches to fit their
specific needs, just as technology must be adapted to
fit farmer needs (Andrew, 1985). Similar statements
have been made at other recent workshops such as the
Lesotho Workshop for Research and Extension Leaders
(sponsored by CIMMYT, November, 1985), the Eger-
ton College Regional Workshop on Farming Systems
Research "Methodologies, Practical Approaches and
Potential Contribution of FSR for Rural Develop-
ment" (August 1984, Njoro, Kenya), and the West
*See about the authors, page 3.

African Farming Systems Research Network Sympo-
sium (Dakar, Senegal, March 1986).

From Project to Program
Past USAID FSR/E emphasis in Africa has been
based predominantly upon projects. This is partly due
to the high relative importance donor support plays in
African research and extension programs. In both Asia
and Latin America, where a proportionately smaller
amount of the research budget is supported by donors,
the trend has been more program-oriented. While some
would argue that part of the reason for a project em-
phasis in Africa is because use of the approach in the
region is younger than it is in the other two regions,
such an argument ignores the fact that FSR/E has a
longer history of application in parts of Africa than it
does in Asia (i.e. Nigeria, Senegal, Mali). To optimize
the long-range benefits of FSR/E, incorporation of the
approach should be through national programs sup-
ported by International Research Centers, and not
solely tied to specific or pilot projects. On-farm
research should be implemented largely through
national systems with effective feedback mechanisms
to on-station research in national and international
research institutes (ICRISAT, 1986).

National Coordination
Concommitant with the move from project to
program is the development of national coordinating
entities for FSR/E activities. Though no two counties
handle this in exactly the same fashion, many are
opting for either a coordination unit that cuts across
departments and commodity programs, or a depart-
ment of equivalent status to other departments.
Continued exchange of information and evaluation
will allow national programs to determine which route
serves their purposes best.

National Program Networking
Networking has become a significant term in donor
parlance, and some might argue justifiably that too
much networking has taken place with too little
planning of objectives. Simply moving people (often
the same people) from one international workshop to
another is not networking. Much of the early network-
ing in FSR/E served as the vehicle for "constructive
conflict" (Rhoades and Booth, 1982) and successful
consensus-building. Now networking is serving more as
a mechanism for the exchange of experiences in insti-
tutionalization of the approach in national systems and
the exchange of results of on-farm experimentation.
Networking has been primarily among researchers,
however, there is increasing involvement of extension
workers, development agents, administrators and
university faculty. This is indicative also of the move
from project to program, as a broader base of involve-
ment is created.

Farmers + researchers + extension workers
+ policymakers
In response to a question asked about the future of
FSR/E as an approach to agricultural research and
extension, Dr. E. T. York (Chancellor Emeritus,
State University System of Florida and Chair of
BIFAD) replied that, although it was likely in the
future that the name of the approach may not remain
the same, there is no doubt the methodology will carry
on (York, Gamma Sigma Delta Seminar Series, Univer-
sity of Florida, 1985). Whether or not the approach
goes by the name FSR/E in the future in unimportant.
What is vital is that continual contact between research,
extension and the actual farmers of all given crop/live-
stock situations be guaranteed by any future research
approaches. Such intimate contact is not to be confined
to only the diagnosis and testing phases, but should
continue throughout the entire research process,
including trial design and redesign (Chambers and
Ghildyal, 1985; Chambers and Jiggins, 1986; Gait,
1985b; Rhoades and Booth, 1982).

For the future of FSR/E it will be important to see
the scope of various on-farm programs, not only in
relation to the needs and capabilities of the research
systems to utilize the resulting feedback information,
but also in relation to the capabilities of the extension
system to transfer and to fine-tune the recommenda-
tions for improved technologies (ICRISAT Summary
Statement, 1986). FSR/E should be moving also to
incorporate more planners and policymakers into the
farmer-researcher-extension worker relationship. This
will provide the needed linkages between farm-level ac-
tivities and the larger macro-level where policy changes
can be made to facilitate the on-farm technology-gen-
eration process.

Greater Farmer Participation
More national scientists of different disciplines
should be encouraged to take joint interest in farmer
conditions and conducting experiments with farmer
participation, rather than be asked to adhere to specific,
sometime even very costly, approaches (ICRISAT
Summary Statement, 1986; CIMMYT, 1984). There is
no other practical way in which to test the interventions
which will be forthcoming from any research effort
but to call upon the actual farmers of the relevant
crops in order to discover their problems, needs,
constraints and opinions during the whole process of
adaptive research. In many parts of Africa, this means
working more often than not with the females) and/or
older children of households and families, a change
both researchers and extension workers are beginning
to realize must be made and incorporated into their
research priorities (Poats and Schmink, forthcoming).

Documentation of Results
While much has been written about FSR/E philoso-
phy, concepts, definitions, and there is growing atten-
tion being given to methodological improvement and
the process of institutionalization, relatively little syste-
matic reporting of FSR/E results has been accomplished.
For many policymakers and planners, the lack of organ-
ized results makes FSR/E implementation an article of
faith rather than reality. Yet, there are results, and
good examples of the impact that the approach is
having on the process of generating acceptable farmer
technology. These need to be synthesized at regional
and national levels so they can be shared and discussed.
Although publications on FSR/E are more frequent
today, publication of the results of FSR/E in main-
stream journals still lags behind. Concerted efforts need
to be made in compiling the results of FSR/E work
and making them available to the wider community of

Internal Networking
Although recent years have seen great efforts in
networking from county to county and region to
region, relatively little has actually been done
within countries. In many African countries, extension
workers and researchers do not meet on a regular or
even irregular basis to exchange results of FSR/E activ-
ities. Projects in different regions of a country are not
aware of each other's efforts and common problem-
solving occurs infrequently. Some countries, such as
Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Rwanda have made recent
efforts to network among projects and institutions
engaged in FSR/E. These have been highly successful
in terms of stimulating further exchanges, setting
priorities for regional or national level efforts, and
problem-solving. Such internal networking should
become a part of the move from project to program.

Methodological Development
Better reporting of FSR/E results will also yield
improvements in methodological development as
practitioners will want to know how these results were
obtained. In particular, methodological improvements
are needed in the design and analysis of on-farm
experiments particularly dealing with livestock or
equipment such as animal traction, skills and techniques
in monitoring especially in areas relating to the impact
of new technology on households, nutritional status
and the larger natural environment.

Systematic farm-level records must be kept.
Documentation of the FSR/E and team-building
processes themselves is necessary.
Program information must be shared with other
programs and projects within the country as well as
with other countries facing similar problems. Informa-
tion exchange should be formalized, take place on a
regular basis, and open to the practitioner community
at large.
Facilitate more interchange of information between
programs, going beyond the KSU FSR/E annual Sym-
posium to consider short paper series, newsletters, and
training materials based on input and feedback from
field practitioners.
Improved collaboration among IARCs must con-
tinue, especially in the areas of (1) sharing information
on methods, (2) coordinating work with national pro-
grams, and (3) joint training programs.
FSR/E programs or projects must encourage explicit
participation of other potential collaborative groups,
including, but not limited to, (1) U.S. Peace Corps
volunteers (and other similar bilateral donor voluntary
youth groups), (2) host country or interested expatriate
graduate students ready to undertake field research for
their theses at the M.S. and/or Ph.D. levels, and (3)
Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) with bases of
operations in or near areas being served by the FSR/E

Institutionalization FOR FSR/E IN AFRICA?

In the future, it is quite likely that Dr. York's
prediction will come true, that the name FSR/E will be
lost, but that the concepts and methods become
routine. Though the processes will differ, the goal for
institutionalization should be larger than FSR/E, for it
is the farming systems perspective which needs to be
captured within the institutions. A client participatory
adaptive research and extension mode is the framework
for the future incorporation of this perspective.


Training of professionals in FSR/E and team-build-
ing is essential (both in general, as provided by IARC
headquarters, and tailored to national needs, as pro-
vided by CIMMYT, IITA and IRRI outreach and the
FSSP) at all levels. Existing efforts to provide short
course training, training materials, as well as university
courses should be expanded.
Methodological innovation, in (1) FSR/E, (2) FSR/E-
conventional research linkages, and (3) in conventional
research, are all essential.

Drawing largely upon the thinking of Norman, Col-
linson, Baker, Abalu, Chiduza, Rukuni, Zandstra,
Chambers and Jiggins, the following issues are proposed
as critical for the future of FSR/E in Africa.

1) Donor-funded FSR/E programs must have insti-
tution-building as a primary objective. Countries
should only accept the funding if a plan for the
institutionalization from project to program is
included in the agreement. Vice-versa, donors
should only fund projects on this basis.

2) Human resource development through practical
training to complement a national training
strategy is essential to further FSR/E develop-
ment. Such training should focus on field-level,
in-service training, hands-on learning, and short-
courses/workshops. Donors must also support
institutionalization of training within local
training institutions, particularly within the
nation's universities, through training of trainers,
development of support materials, and network
communication. A national training strategy
needs to include periodic training for new FSR/E

workers to compensate for attrition, and should
also provide for periodic upgrading of existing
3) Many donors must reassess their interpretation
of FSR/E as a "quick fix" for problem areas
where nothing else has ever worked before. This
is not to say that the FSR/E approach cannot
offer anything to these areas, but that the evalu-
ation criteria of FSR/E activities applied to such
areas must be revised. Every effort needs some
early results. Defining what counts as a good
result is needed. In this case, good diagnosis is a
good result and may lead to redirection of re-
search priorities which will in turn have positive
results. Acceptable minor or marginal changes
for farmers are good results, especially when
nothing else has worked for them before.
4) A key to the successful application of FSR/E is
the creation of a national coordination mechan-
ism and delineation of a national FSR/E strategy.
These will provide the means for unified national
control of donor financing, and help force conver-
gence of donor objectives with national goals.
National agricultural research and extension organ-
izations must plan institutionalization with a view
towards eventual coverage of the recurrent costs
of utilizing FSR/E methods.
5) FSR/E in national settings must add a macro-per-
spective to the predominant micro-orientation
common today. Planners must be more involved
in the process to reduce the isolation of FSR/E
from key national policymakers. In addition,
policymakers must learn to work with and depend
on FSR/E (or adaptive research) teams to monitor
particular policy stimuli at the farm level. Anglo-
phone FSR/E teams have by-and-large accepted
the institutional environment as given, rather than
viewing it as a variable for change. FSR/E teams
must become more aggressive in citing results
from on-farm testing of technologies to further the
case for particular policy changes or modifications
in support systems (Baker and Norman, 1986).
6) In many cases, linkages between research and ex-
tension are still largely informal. There is often
resentment that FSR/E operates on the turf of
one or the other. Coordination of research and
extension in FSR/E is often viewed only from
the institutional context. This linkage, however,
must also occur at the farm level, with research-
ers and regional extension workers being linked.
through farmer groups in villages (Baker and
Norman, 1986).
7) Ways must be found to improve farmer participa-
tion in FSR/E. Farmers should be involved in
the review of research designs. Farmer-designed
trials should evolve. Farmers must be encouraged

to monitor and evaluate the results of trials. They
must be given a voice in setting research priorities.
In particular, researchers must acknowledge
farmers as colleagues and collaborators, as well as
clients for improved technology. Practitioners
need to view FSR/E as a two-way process to
8) FSR/E must clarify its collective role with con-
ventional and particularly with commodity re-
search. 0

Abalu, G. O. I. 1986. "Implementation of a Farming Systems
Research Strategy: The Case of Nigeria." Paper presented at
the West African Farming Systems Research Network (WAF-
SRN) conference. March 10-14, Dakar, Senegal.
Andrew, C. O. 1985. "Trip report: FAC, USAID, and World
Bank Research and Extension Linkages conference." Feb-
ruary 17-23. Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Baker, D. C. and D. W. Norman. 1986. "A Framework for
Assessing Farming Systems Activities in National Settings
in West Africa; with special reference to Senegal and Nigeria."
Paper presented at WAFSRN conference, March 10-14.
Dakar, Senegal.
CIMMYT ESA Economics Program. 1984. "International
Agricultural Research Centers. Summary and Papers from
an Intercenter Consultation on On-Farm Research in Eastern
and Southern Africa." October 18-20. Nairobi, Kenya.
Chambers, Robert, and B. P. Ghildyal. 1985. "Agricultural
Research for Resource-Poor Farmers: The Farmer-First-and-
Last Model." Agricultural Administration 20:1-30.
Chambers, Robert and Janice Jiggins. 1985. "Agricultural Re-
search for Resource-Poor Farmers: A Parsimonious Para-
digm." University of Sussex. Brighton, England.
Chiduza, C. and M. Rukuni. 1985. "Institutionalization of
Farming Systems Research in East and Southern Africa
and the Role of Researcher Training Programs in the Re-
gion." Paper presented at the Workshop on Methodologies,
Practical Approaches and Potential Contribution of Farming
Systems Research for Rural Development in Sub-Saharan
Africa, Egerton College, Kenya, August 19-23, 1985.
Collinson, Michael P. 1982. "Farming Systems Research in
Eastern Africa: The Experience of CIMMYT and Some
National Agricultural Research Services, 1976-81." MSU
International Development Paper No. 3. Department of
Agricultural Economics. East Lansing, Michigan.
Gait, Daniel L. 1985b. "How Rapid Rural Appraisal and Other
Socio-Economic Diagnostic Techniques Fit into the Cyclic
FSR/E Process." Paper presented at International Confer-
ence on Rapid Rural Appraisal. September 2-5. Khon Kaen,
ICRISAT. 1986. "Program: International Agricultural Research
Centers (IARCs) Workshop on Farming Systems Research."
February 17-21. Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Poats, Susan, Marianne Schmink and Anita Spring. Forthcom-
ing. Gender Issues in Faming Systems Research and Exten-
sion. Proceedings of an international conference held at the
University of Florida, February 26-March 1, 1986, Gaines-
ville, Florida.
Rhoades, Robert E. and Robert H. Booth. 1982. "Farmer-back-
to-farmer: a Model for Generating Acceptable Agricultural
Technology." Agricultural Administration, 11:127-137.
Zandstra, Hubert. 1982. "Institutional requirements for crop-
ping systems research." in Cropping Systems Research in
Asia. IRRI. Los Banos, Philippines.

Relationship Between FSR/E and

Single-Commodity Research Programs

Susan Poats, Daniel Gait, Chris Andrew, Lisette Walecka, Peter Hildebrand and Kenneth McDermott*


The vital complementary relation-
ship between FSR/E and commodity
programs has been emphasized
throughout this report and will only
be summarized here. Currently with-
in USAID, there is a move to return
to more intensive research on com-
modities-especially those of greatest
dietary import to Africans (e.g. food-
grains of maize, millet and sorghum,
certain beans, and cassava). This will,
by the sheer size of the effort requir-
ed, demand more, not less, tailored,
farm-level testing of technologies and
interventions. Such testing will most
assuredly not involve too many simple
diamond trials, with and without
fertilizer, in sole crops. Instead, such
farm-level trials will have to take into
account such real constraints as tra-
ditional and/or low-cost innovative
types of land preparation, low- or no-
cost inputs, predominant cropping
combinations, systematic nutrient
recycling, and gender and familial
support of the primary cultivator of
major target crops/livestock combin-
ations, all as integral parts of up-front
trial design efforts. For this reason,
it is essential that FSR/E be the
*See about the authors, page 3.

approach used to improve specific
commodity production.
Norman and Collinson (1985) dif-
ferentiated between FSR/E "in the
small" and "with a pre-determined
focus". The latter is most frequently
"with a pre-determined commodity
focus". The majority of the efforts
by most IARCs fall into this cate-
gory due to their major crop focus.
There seems to be some natural
linkages between single commodity
research and FSR/E. First, both in-
volve multiple disciplines, often
engaged in team efforts. Commodity
research, however, rarely includes
social sciences unless it is conducted
with a farming systems perspective
and a FSR/E approach. Because
commodity research is often already
doing multi-locational trials, the
incorporation of on-farm experi-
ments with varying levels of farmer
management can often occur with
less difficulty than in agricultural
research programs that are strictly
discipline-based. Adding the farming
systems perspective to a single com-
modity program can often be accom-
plished more easily than trying to
make vast institutional changes across
all programs at once. Adding one or
two people to the program is less

disruptive than creating whole new
programs. Norman and Collinson
(1986) refer to the introduction of
FSR or FSR/E through a commodity
program as "driving a narrow wedge
into agricultural bureaucracies" from
which to build up to capacity to
apply a systems perspective and then
"open the wedge" to forge necessary
linkages across commodities, compo-
nents and other programs. Though
this strategy has been highly success-
ful in getting a systems perspective
introduced in various regions, it is
criticized because progress in open-
ing the wedge has been slow, and in
particular, involvement of extension,
attention to livestock and mixed
enterprises, and consideration of
secondary and horticultural crops or
post-harvest problems has been poor.


In light of the above, it is easy to
see that the vertical linkages for com-
modity programs are rather good.
The qualified exception is that though
specific recommendations are made
for extension to transfer, there is
little integration of these recommen-
dations or technologies with the other

activities of farmers. In particular,
low-resource agriculturalists do not
practice single commodity produc-
tion, but rather integrated production,
and therefore need recommendations
for integrated systems. Even when
operating in a farming systems per-
spective, too often there has been
little linkage across various com-
modities, and the onus of integration
is left by default to extension.
Frequently, there is also conflict
between commodity programs, es-
pecially if there is a donor or out-
side agencies involved, each provid-
ing methodological approach to the
systems perspective. Resolution of
this conflict among donors, espec-
ially the IARCs is crucial if their
support to FSR/E and the systems
perspective in general is to be func-
tional. Recent efforts demonstrate
that this is possible (CIMMYT, 1984;
ICRISAT, 1986).
Norman and Collinson (1986)
state that the "predetermined focus"
approach has several disadvantages
and provide specific examples:
* Predetermine the objective and
may focus attention away from
more crucial farmers problems;
Cannot rank problems across
commodities in order to appro-
priately allocate resources;
There is great potential for over-
lap between commodity pro-
Linkage with extension is diffi-
cult to achieve;
Systems perspective conflicts with
peer-group recognition among spe-
cialized researchers in commodity

Though the "with a predetermined
focus" can help national programs
to rapidly get moving with on-farm
research, as Norman and Collinson
(1986) point out, the disadvantages
listed above suggest that opting for a
"in the small" approach might have
greater benefits in the long run. This
choice will facilitate a holistic view

of priority problems in the system
and allow better allocation of re-
sources towards their solution. Over-
lapping activities of several commodity
teams doing on-farm research in a
single area can be avoided and greater
linkages with extension will be
achieved more naturally. This route
can also diffuse some of the destruc-
tive results of disciplinary-based peer
group pressure.
Many countries, such as Zambia
and Malawi, are integrating adaptive
research teams to conduct FSR/E in
specific regions or areas and linking
these to commodity research teams
through the coordination unit or
body. This model seems to be effec-
tive in integrating the two needs in
complementary fashion. Greater dif-
ficulties seem to arise when FSR/E
is housed in a department parallel
and competitive with disciplinary
or commodity-based departments,
and often competition for scarce re-
sources, including human resources,
results in little collaboration. One
specific measure to enhance collab-
oration and linkages within any
model is the joint elaboration and
review of annual workplans and ex-
plicit delineation of responsibilities
and supporting budget. It is very
important that FSR/E and com-
modity programs are viewed as
collaborative and not hierarchical
with one providing service to the
Concerning specific benefits to
be gained through collaboration
between the two, commodity re-
search teams can improve FSR/E
teams by providing expertise on
specifics in the diagnosis of prob-
lems, advise on appropriate designs
for on-farm trials, and assist with
the biological interpretation of re-
sults. Baker and Norman (1986)
provide five functions with which
FSR/E can support conventional
research and thus improve the
linkages between the two:
(1) Define the environmental
situation of farms and how
this differs from that of the
experiment station, and how

to assess the differences in
terms of the different under-
lying variability.
(2) Advise on appropriate experi-
mental levels, such as fertilizer
or seed, or even endogenous
variables, such as household
labor availability.
(3) Define experimental and non-
experimental variables.
(4) Define the evaluation criteria
for trials ("yield per what" is
critical to farmers).
(5) Conduct the "incrementaliza-
tion" of packages to allow for
step-wise learning and utli-
mately, adoption.
Concerning the last function,
FSR/E can help commodity pro-
grams to more fully exploit the
flexibility of a system, rather than
striving only to break constraints.
Since long-term success, however,
will still depend on breaking con-
straints, FSR/E provides commodity
programs with a "step by step
approach evolving away from the
present system towards a new one-
each step being one that is accep-
table to farmers" (Norman and
Collinson, 1985).0

Baker, D. C. and D. W. Norman. 1986. "A
Framework for Assessing Farming Sys-
tems Activities in National Settings in
West Africa; with special reference to
Senegal and Nigeria." Paper presented
at WAFSRN conference, March 10-14.
Dakar, Senegal.
CIMMYT ESA Economics Program. 1984.
"International Agricultural Research
Centres. Summary and Papers from an
Intercenter Consultation on On-Farm
Research in Eastern and Southern
Africa." October 18-20. Nairobi, Kenya.
ICRISAT. 1986. "Program: International
Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs)
Workshop on Farming Systems Re-
search." February 17-21. Patancheru,
Andhra Pradesh, India.
Norman, David and Michael Collinson.
1985. "Farming Systems Research in
theory and practice." in J. V. Remenyi
(ed.) Agricultural Systems Research for
Developing Countries. Proceedings of an
international workshop held at Hawkes-
bury Agricultural College. May 12-15.
Richmond, N.S.W., Australia.

Should FSR/E Move Towards Greater

Inclusion of Inter- and Intra-Household Issues,

Gender Issues and Non- Farm Income Generating Activilies?

Susan Poats, Daniel Gait, Chris Andrew, Lisette Walecka, Peter Hildebrand and Kenneth McDermott*

It already has. A number of FSR/E
projects-including those based in
Botswana, the Eastern Caribbean,
parts of Indonesia, the Philippines,
Burkina Faso, Kenya (ICRAF),
Colombia (CIAT/IFDC) and Zambia
-have incorporated various measures
of inter- and intra-household produc-
tion, labor distribution, and income
systems into their framework and
analyses for several years (FSSP/
Population Council FSR/E Case
Studies, forthcoming). The intra-
household effort in Lesotho has been
going on for seven years. The WIADP
project in Malawi demonstrated the
effectiveness of conducting on-farm
experiments with women cooperators
and training male extension agents to
better work with women farmers.
The FSSP has developed a roster of
over 90 projects using a FSR/E or
farming systems perspective that
have incorporated to some extent
intra-household production and in-
come measures and gender analysis.
Two-thirds of these have incorporated
these measures and analysis into
diagnostic efforts. A third have carried
them through their design, experi-
mentation or intervention activities.
Many have developed innovative
methods of data collection, analysis
and monitoring on these issues. At a
recent conference held at the Univer-
sity of Florida on "Gender Issues and'
FSR/E" over sixty papers were pre-
sented on the topic, from countries
representing every world region
(Poats and Schmink, forthcoming).
From review of the efforts listed
above and others, one can conclude
that there is general agreement on

the basic arguments underlying the
need to include and analyze informa-
tion on households and gender in
FSR/E. First, is that the intra- and
inter-household relations are embed-
ded in farming systems and will have
an effect on and be affected by
changes in these systems. Second is
that FSR/E is an iterative and col-
laborative process, one which ex-
plicitly calls for continuous assess-
ment and redesign. Because it is not
linear, but overlapping and all
activities occur simultaneously, there
must be a continuous flow of know-
ledge, including, most importantly,
the views of the farmers (men and
women) whose systems(s) will be
affected (Feldstein, 1986).
The dilemma facing practitioners
and research/extension managers is
how to expand FSR/E approaches
more systematically to include intra-
household data collection and analy-
sis and thereby address the agruments
delineated above. The need for such
data collection has existed from the
very beginning of FSR/E and now
well-perceived in most quarters.
However, action and implementation
are often hampered due to a percep-
tion of high cost. High cost is most
often associated with the belief that
methods to collect such data and its
analysis are expensive and time-con-
suming, and that only highly trained
professional social scientists can
handle these needs. Recent examples
have shown that neither of these are
necessarily true.
First of all, it is not necessary to
have a social scientist on every FSR/E
field team. In Zambia, locating a

social scientist within the coordinat-
ing entity of the adaptive research
program has facilitated the inclusion
of social science methods by certain
field teams in order to more fully ex-
plore hoOsehold and gender issues in
adaptive research. In other countries
(Guatemala for example), agricultural
technicians have been taught social
science skills to enable them to
collect and analyze household as well
as other socioeconomic data. Their
efforts are supported by a central
department which provides further
analysis and interpretation of results.
Greater networking and exchange of
information between projects such
as these has resulted in better know-
ledge of appropriate methods. For
example, as a result of the case
studies project by the FSSP and
Population Council a guidebook of
methods which have proven effective
in the field is being assembled and
should assist other practitioners who
are requesting help in dealing with
this area (Feldstein and Jiggins,
High cost or insufficient budget
is still often given as the reason not
to include better household under-
standing and analysis in FSR/E
approaches. A short run view may
lead administrators and managers to
see the professional salary of a social
scientist as too high when taken out
of context. But when placed in the
context of the potential for new
technology to be acceptable or not,
the potential benefit of social science
incorporation in general, and the
household realm in particular, far
exceeds the cost.

*See about the authors, page 3.

During the early years of FSR/E,
it was extremely difficult to obtain
the services of a trained applied
anthropologist or rural sociologist
to work with an FSR/E project or
approach. Few of these social sci-
entists, though interested in this
aspect of the rural population, had
adequate training in agricultural
sciences to enable them to work
effectively with teams composed
largely of agricultural scientists.
Few of the national agricultural
research and extension systems saw
the need to create mainline posi-
tions for non-agriculturists and
often host country governments
were wary of social scientists work-
ing with the poorer peoples in their
countries. Perhaps more important-
ly, there were very few international
centers or other agricultural research
and development organizations that
had already made this move to serve
as role models. Fortunately, this
situation has changed greatly, and it
is almost commonplace for inter-
disciplinary teams to include a social
scientist, very often, an anthropolo-
gist. Good guidelines are being written
to assist projects in incorporating
these and other dimensions into
projects (Rogers, 1985). The IARCs,
especially those that "broke new
ground" in incorporating anthro-
pologists within their programs
(Rhoades, 1985), are now changing
their previous positions and consid-
ering the difference that gender-
sensitive agricultural technology de-
velopment might make to their work
(Jiggins, 1985). Likewise, the IARCs
are beginning to realize that produc-
tivity can be improved by looking
outside of farming techniques per se,
and that FSR/E has the capacity to
facilitate this view. This could extend
to non-farm income generating activ-
A crop becomes a food only
after it is cleaned, prepared and
in most cases, cooked. The returns
to improvement in these activities,
commonly performed by women,
might often exceed returns from
efforts directed to improving crop

yields. In addition, research on
minor crops and small animals
could also yield important bene-
fits (Plucknett et al., 1986).
A general broadening of the dis-
ciplinary perspectives that can be
brought to bear upon the use of
FSR/E has also created the need for
the development, dissemination and
training in the use of, simplified
social sciences methodologies for
field FSR/E teams sensitized to
working with resource-limited farm-
ers, but with little or no specialized
knowledge of how to go about doing
it. A similar situation exists in the
growing realization that consumption
and nutrition linkages need to be
considered in the use of a FSR/E
approach, and there is growing
interest in developing simplified
nutritional tools which can also be
used by field teams without excep-
tional nutritional expertise. (Cohen,
1986; Frankenberger, 1985). Unfor-
tunately once again, these necessities,
even when demonstratably simplified
and cost-efficient, appear to be costly
additions to FSR/E in the eyes of
administrators and donors in terms
of both scarce funds and human re-
sources. The growing realization of
these needs also coincides with a time
when bilateral donors face budgetary
crises of their own, and are less likely
to fund FSR/E projects at a level
necessary to allow for the more
efficient gathering of such necessary
data (USAID, 1985b).
What is needed today and in the
future is greater stress upon coordin-
ated innovation. This should take the
form of host country governments
coordinating and bilaterial project of
any donor so as to take the utmost
advantage of secondary financial and
human resources. Such secondary
resources-such as the U.S. Peace
Corps and its equivalent among other
bilaterial donors, both expartriate
and host country graduate students
in the disciplines of social science,
agriculture and agroforestry, and
various PVOs-will evolve into pri-
mary sources of support contributing
more directly to the advance of agri-

cultural development throughout the
third world. While the approach
which unites these groups together
with bilaterial donors through the
mediation of host country govern-
ments may be FSR/E in the begin-
ning, the force which will unite
them all in the longer run will be the
overriding necessity for sustained
agricultural progress and the complex-
ities of the problems which still must
be resolved to avoid widespread
Cohen, Roberta. 1986. "Determination of
Farming Systems Variables that Influ-
ence Nutritional Status in Las Cuevas
Watershed, Dominican Republic." M.S.
Thesis. University of Florida.
Feldstein, Hilary. 1986. "Intra-Household
Dynamics and Farming Systems Re-
search and Extension: Conceptual
Framework and Worksheets." Draft
MS. photocopy.
Frankenberger, Timothy. 1984. "Inclusion
of Food Consumption Concerns in
Farming Systems Projects." Prepared
for the Nutrition Economics Group,
Technical Assistance Division. Office of
International Cooperation and Develop-
ment, USDA. Washington, D.C.
Jiggins, Janice. 1985. "The CG Centers,
Gender Issues and Agricultural Tech-
nology Devleopment." MS. Photocopy.
Plucknett, Donald L., John L. Dillon and
Guy J. Vallaeys. 1986. "Review of Con-
cepts of Farming Systems Research-the
What, Why and How." Paper presented
to the International Agricultural Re-
search Centers (IARC) workshop on
Farming Systems Research. February
17-21. ICRISAT Center. Hyderabad,
Poats, Susan; Marianne Schmink and Anita
Spring. Forthcoming. Gender Issues in
Farming Systems Research and Exten-
sion. Proceedings of an international
conference held at the University of
Florida, February 26-March 1, 1986,
Gainesville, Florida.
Rhoades, Robert E. and Michael J. Potts.
1985. "Generating Appropriate Tech-
nologies with Small Farmers: The CIP
Apporach." International Potato Center
(CIP). Lima, Peru.
Rogers, Beatrice Lorge. 1985. "Incorpor-
ating the Intrahousehold Dimension
into Development Projects: A Guide
for Planners." USAID/PPC Human
Resources Division, Washington, D.C.
USAID. 1985b. "S&T Project Budgest."
Bureau of Science and Technology.
Washington, D.C.

Miscellaneous News and Notes


The University of Maryland's In-
ternational Development Management
Center (IDMC) and the Caribbean
Agricultural Research and Develop-
ment Institute (CARDI) are present-
ing a pre-symposium training work-
shop on Farming Systems Research
and Extension (FSR/E) planning and
monitoring tools October 13-15,
1987 at the National Agricultural
Library near Washington, D.C. The
workshop is designed for partici-
pants in the FSR/E Symposium and
project leaders, research directors,
and other agricultural and extension
professionals who wish to understand
planning and monitoring tools and
how to apply them in an FSR/E con-
For further information write to:
Herb Reed, IDMC, 3220 Symons
Hall, University of Maryland, College
Park, MD 20742 or telephone (301)


Design and Delivery of Integrated
Pest Management Technologies:
Tailoring for Various Farming Systems
University of Florida
June 27-July 15, 1, 988
The Department of Entomology
and the Center for Tropical Agricul-
ture (IFAS) are pleased to announce
a training course in design and de-
livery of integrated pest management
technologies: Tailoring for various
farming systems. The course will
cover the history and basic principles
of IPM, field sampling designs, devel-
opment of economic injury levels
and thresholds, IPM tactics & strate-
gies, use of IPM in on-farm trials, and
a special section on pesticide use and
safety. One intensive week of dem-
onstrations at Florida's regional
agricultural centers will depict on-
going IPM programs and activities in

tropical fruit crops, vegetable crops,
fieldcrops and citrus. The course,
offered in English, will last three
Week 1: evolution and principles of
IPM; definition of strategies and re-
view of tactics; sampling and design
of acceptable field sampling methods;
development and use of economic
injury levels and thresholds.
Week 2: examples of use of various
single and multiple tactics in IPM;
illustrations of IPM successes and
failure; tailoring IPM to various farm
systems; topics on pesticides: use,
formulation, calibration, application
and safety.
Week 3: intensive field trips to Agri-
cultural Research Centers for ex-
amples in field, fruit and vegetable
crops; practical field exercises and
demonstrations on sampling, pesti-
cide use, biological and cultural
tactics; course summary and critique.
The course is targeted for persons
who are currently engaged in inte-
grated pest management work or in
work where the design of appropriate
pest management strategies is demand-
ed (e.g., Farming Systems work).
These persons could include inter-
national students studying in the
USA, faculty of USA universities
involved in short or long term
technical assistance, USAID or other
donor agency personnel or any other
persons involved in pest management
research, extension or teaching. The
course will be limited to 24 parti-
For additional information write:
Office of Conferences
Building 639 IFAS
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


The Agroecology Program/U.C.
Extension offers a 6-month Appren-

ticeship in Ecological Horticulture,
April 4-September 30, 1988 at the
Farm & Garden, Santa Cruz. Empha-
sis is on hands-on learning with
instruction in horticultural methods
(sowing, cultivation, composting,
propagation, irrigation); cultivar
requirements (vegetables, herbs,
flowers, fruits); and pest and disease
identification and control. Applica-
tion deadline, December 5, 1987.
For further information, please
write: Apprenticeship, Box A, Agro-
ecology Program, University of Cali-
fornia, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
Phone (408) 429-2321.

A variety of opportunities for
African researchers, individually or
in teams, and research teams of
African and non-African researchers
will be available beginning in 1987
from the Project on African Agri-
culture: Crisis and Transformation,
sponsored by the Joint Committee
on African Studies of the American
Council of Learned Societies and the
Social Science Research Council. The
project aims to promote interdisci-
plinary analysis-particularly involv-
ing natural and social scientists-of
the agricultural crisis in sub-Saharan
Africa. Two cohorts of fellows will
be selected in 1987, one in May
(application deadline March 31), and
one in September (application dead-
line July 31). Awards of up to
$15,000 for periods of 3-12 months
will be granted to support innovative
projects involving training and
research activities. Interdisciplinary
applications are particularly encour-
aged. Applicants may come from
any of three categories: recent
graduates (minimum of Master's
Degree or equivalent); mid-career
scholars at universities or research
institutes; professionals in govern-
ment posts. For additional informa-
tion write to: Fellowship Program,

Miscellaneous News and Notes

Project on African Agriculture, Social
Science Research Council, 605 Third
Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10158
U.S.A., telephone (212) 661-0280.

The Internationa
Tropical Agriculture
Nigeria, has received
Ford Foundation tc
mative action suppoi
ing of women from
Southern Africa dur
period. The grant wi
ing for the following
women agricultural
(a) Fellowships for
gram for two w
level. Nominess
M.Sc. degree.
(b) Fellowships for t
for three women
level. A first de
(c) Scholarships for
short-term inser
IITA from 1987-

Course Title
1. Cowpea/Soybean
Research and
2. Soil and Plant
3. Food Crops Researct
Production and
4. Tropical Root
Crops Research
and Production
5. Plantain/Banana
Research and
6. Maize/Rice
Research and
The minimum qi
participation in the
training courses is a
3-year diploma post
cation. Preference v
degrees in the agricu
science fields include


I Institute of
(IITA) Ibadan,
a grant from the
provide affir-
rt for the train-
Eastern and
ing a three-year
II provide train-
g categories of

home economics, nutrition and soci-
ology. Qualified professionals wishing
to be considered for any of the cate-
gories of training listed above should
contact their employers who should
then send an official request to I ITA
stating the category and/or title of
course desired.
For further information contact:
The Principal Training Officer
International Institute of
Tropical Agriculture
P.M.B. 5320 Ibadan, Nigeria


professionals. A free catalog of books on live-
training pro- stock science and policy in the
omen at Ph.D. third world is available from Agri-
should hold an bookstore. The catalog contains
titles published by the International
raining program Livestock Center for Africa, the
at M.Sc. orM.A. International Center for Tropical
gree is a pre- Agriculture (CIAT), Commonwealth
Agricultural Bureau, BOSTID, Win-
34 women for rock International, International
vice training at Development Research Centre, World
89 are as follows: Bank, and others.
Write for Livestocks catalog to Ag-
Places Duration
available (inweek gribookstoreWinrock International,
1611 North Kent St., Arlington, VA
6 8

10 4 Assessing Rainy Season Vegetable
Production Alternatives: A case study
in "upstream" farming systems re-
6 10 search was published in 1987 by the
Asian Vegetable Research and Devel-
4 7 opment Center (AVRDC). It was
written by John S. Caldwell based
on his research while at AVRDC.
4 16 The target area was two municipal-
ialification for Jties in Llocos Norte, Philippines.
above group The objectives of the case study
B.Sc. degree or a were: first, to document one way in
secondary edu- which AVRDC has sought to develop
iill be given to farming systems methodology for its
Itural and social diversified clientele; second, to pro-
ing agriculture, vide an example of the applications

of some of the tools of farming sys-
tems analysis to a vegetable-centered
problem; and third, to illustrate the
importance of policy and infrastruc-
ture support considerations for
The publication was published
under the Tropical Vegetable Infor-
mation Service (TVIS) Project which
receives support from the Interna-
tional Development Research Centre
(IDRC) of Canada. The publication is
available from AVRDC for US$5.00
(from developed countries) and
US$3.50 (from developing countries),
including surface postage charges.
Send check or money order to:
P.O. Box 42
Shanhua, Tainan 74199


The high costs of journal sub-
scriptions and other sources of
scientific information make it diffi-
cult for researchers in developing
countries to keep up to date in
their fields of interest. The result
can be lower quality research and/or
an unnecessary duplication of re-
search done elsewhere.
In an effort to facilitate commun-
ication among the global community
of wheat, barley, and triticale re-
searchers, CIMMYT has begun a pilot
project designed to improve the shar-
ing of information within this group,
giving emphasis to researchers located
in developing countries. The project,
entitled "Information Service for
Wheat, Barley and Triticale," is
jointly funded by the International
Development Research Center
(IDRC) Canada, and CIMMYT. As
described in this brochure, two
bibliographic jounrals, a limited
document delivery service, and other

services are offered as part of the
Bibliographic Journals
Wheat, Barley and Triticale Bibli-
ography contains data extracted from
AGRIS (International Information
System for the Agricultural Sciences
and Technology, coordinated by the
FAO, Rome). Developing country
literature is well represented in this
bibliography, as well as the so-called
"unconventional" literature, i.e.,
materials usually not available through
normal distribution channels (re-
ports, conference proceedings, etc.).
Most citations are without abstracts,
though the number of entries with
abstracts is expected to increase con-
A second journal, Wheat, Barley
and Triticale Abstracts, is copublished
by CIMMYT and CAB (Common-
wealth Agricultural Bureaux, United
Kingdom). This document focuses
on "conventional" literature, i.e.,
referred journal articles, books, etc.
Each entry is accompanied by an
Document Delivery Service
Currently, all recipients of these
journals also receive "document
delivery coupons" with each issue.
These can be used to request photo-
copies of articles (a maximum of two
may be requested free of charge)
cited in the journals, or they may be
used to request copies of computer
literature searches done by CIMMYT
(see "Other Services and Informa-
tion"). We now want to broaden the
distribution of coupons to make it
easier for individuals to obtain copies
of relevant documents. To this end,
we are creating a special mailing list
for people who wish to receive docu-
ment delivery coupons only (see
"How to Participate").
Other Services and Information
A bimonthly Scientific Information
Bulletin, is also sent to journal recip-
ients and provides additional infor-
mation, such as lists of CIMMYT
library acquisitions and of the on-

line computer literature searches
done by CIMMYT. As noted above,
document delivery coupons may be
used to request photocopies of
literature searches already done by
CIMMYT. At this time, we cannot
offer to do specific searches.
How to Participate
The bibliographic journals de-
scribed in this brochure are sent
free of charge to 500 libraries and
research stations located primarily
in developing countries. A 1986
directory of deposit libraries and
research stations receiving the
journals is available upon request.
Journal subscriptions are also
available to individuals. To obtain
Wheat, Barley and Triticale Ab-
stracts, write directly to CAB for
Central Sales, CAB
Farnham House, Farnham Royal,
Slough SL2 3BN, UK
To inquire about the Wheat, Barley
and Triticale Bibliography, the Sci-
entific Information Bulletin, and to
obtain document delivery coupons
and the 1986 directory of deposit
libraries, write to:
Scientific Information Unit
Apdo. Postal 6-641
06600 M6xico, D.F.


Colorado State University has de-
signed a new short course entitled
"Management of Research, Exten-
sion and Training in Irrigated Agri-
cultural Systems." The course will
be offered October 5-24, 1987
through the Colorado Institute for
Irrigation Management.
This course focuses on the irrigated
farming systems research and exten-
sion approach that has been developed
by Colorado State University in
several USAID projects in Africa and

most recently implemented in the
San Luis Valley of Colorado.
The three-week course will involve
two weeks of classroom and field
studies in Colorado, one week of
site visits (three days) to observe and
discuss application of the farming
systems principles in South Central
USA, and attendance (three days) at
the International Farming Systems
Symposium at the University of
Arkansas-Fayetteville. Dr. Alan Early
and Dr. Jerry Eckert are the course
The course will have intensive
input from Dr. Jerry B. Eckert,
Agricultural Economist with 20
years of experience in irrigated and
rainfed farming systems in South
Asia and Africa; Dr. Max K. Lowder-
milk, Rural Sociologist, with more
than 20 years of irrigated farming
systems experience in Pakistan and
India; and Dr. Alan C. Early, Agri-
cultural Engineer, with more than
16 years experience in Southeast
Asia and South Asia. Others involved
from the CSU faculty will include
the team working in the San Luis
Valley Project: Dr. Phyllis Worden
(International Extension), Dr. Warren
Trock (Agricultural Economics and
Team Leader), Dr. Williard Schmehl
(Agronomy and Co-Author of the
Farming Systems Research and De-
velopment textbook used through-
out the world), Duane Johnson
(Agronomist), Dr. Everett Richardson
(Civil Engineer) and Dr. Doug Benton
(Management and Public Adminis-
Details on tuition, sponsorship
required and other course informa-
tion are available from:
Marvin E. Jensen, Director
Colorado Institute for
Irrigation Management
University Services Center,
4th Floor
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Coloriad 80523 USA
Telephone: (303) 491-2868
Telex: 452014 CIIM/SARD

Farming Systems Research in the

Institute of Agricultural Research,

Ethiopia: Evolution, Impact, Issues1

by Mulugetta Mekuria and Steven Franzel2

Ethiopia is predominantly an agricultural country.
Of the 42 million people, 85% earn their living from
this sector. Agriculture contributes almost 50% to the
GDP and 90% to the foreign exchange earnings of the
national economy.
To accelerate the development of agriculture the
Government of Ethiopia realized the need for a
national agricultural research institution and in 1966
established The Institute of Agricultural Research
(IAR) as a semi-autonomous public organization to
undertake and coordinate agricultural research in the
country. Prior to the establishment of the IAR, agri-
cultural colleges (Alemaya, Jima) and their experiment
stations were carrying out research.
In the last two decades the IAR has expanded its
research network to cover the country's major agri-
cultural development zones, and has strengthened its
research manpower and infrastructure. To date the
IAR has 18 centers and sub-centers covering all the
agricultural development zones of the country. In
addition, institutions of higher learning, of which the
Alemaya University of Agriculture is the most prom-
inent, also undertake agricultural research.
In most developing countries it has become apparent
that the generation of new technology alone has not
provided solutions for helping poor farmers increase
agricultural productivity and achieve higher standards
of living. In spite of all the efforts of national and
international research centers, the problem of technol-
ogy adoption and hence low agricultural productivity
is still a major concern. The problem of low rates of
technology adoption by the small farmers is partly
attributed to the lack of understanding of the farmers'
problems and the conditions under which they operate.
Today there is a significant change in the attitude of
the scientific community towards small farmers and
their problems. New perceptions of the small farm

This paper is a revised version of a paper presented at the "Senior Re-
search/Extension Administration Workshop," International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Llongwe, Malawi, May, 1987.
2Mulugetta Mekuria is an agricultural economist and Head, Department of
Agricultural Economics and Farming Systems Research, Institute of
Agricultural Research, Ethiopia. Steven Franzel is an agricultural econo-
mist and Farming Systems Research advisor to the Institute of Agricul-
tural Research, Ethiopia, on secondment from the Agricultural Devel-
opment Service, World Bank.

situation have resulted in the development of the
farming systems research (FSR) approach. FSR evolved
in the post green revolution era with the growing per-
ception of the failure of agricultural research and
extension institutions to generate and disseminate
technologies adopted on a wide scale by peasant
The following sections describe the evolution of
FSR in the IAR, and report on preliminary results
and their impact. Finally, we present several critical
issues concerning the refinement of the approach and
its institutionalization in Ethiopia.
Historical Perspective
The history of FSR in Ethiopia dates back to
1976/77, when the Department of Socio Economics
and Farm Management Studies initiated demonstra-
tion programs around Holetta and Bako research
stations. The objective of the program was to dem-
onstrate available recommendations from the research
stations to the nearby farming community. It was soon
realized that the recommendations gave no superior
results over the traditional practices and farmers were
justifiably reluctant to accept the recommendations.
Two lessons were learned from this exercise: First,
the need to study why farmers do not adopt what the
scientists recommended for them was considered very
crucial to chart future research strategies. Second, it
was evident that our knowledge and understanding of
the peasant farmer and his circumstances was far from
complete. With these rationales the Department
initiated multidisciplinary surveys and package testing
Multidisciplinary Farming Systems Surveys
and Package Testing
The first multi-disciplinary survey which was differ-
ent from the conventional farm management survey
and emphasized the identification of farmers' problems
as perceived by the farmers was launched in the Holetta
and Bako Farming System Zones in 1977/78. It was
later extended to Nazreth in 1979/80.
These surveys helped to fill the gap in the understand-
ing of the systems. Information on resource utilization

and allocation was collected. Major production con-
straints were identified. Farmers assessment of available
technologies was evaluated. The feed-back to the dis-
ciplinary and commodity researchers was also valuable.
Preliminary analysis of the surveys indicated the
need for testing available technological packages under
farmers' management levels and for evaulating the farm-
ers' assessment of the packages to get the necessary
feed-back. Accelerating the interaction of researchers,
farmers and extensionists to understand the farming
system was also found imperative.
The multi-disciplinary surveys were used to plan
"package testing" that is the testing of appropriate
packages of innovations on farmers' fields near the
research stations and sub-stations. The packages of
innovations developed included improved varieties,
recommended cultural practices, and fertilizer types
and rates for each major crop. The packages were
planted on areas of 0.5 ha. to 1 ha. on selected farms.
The package testing program has been conducted
on individual producers', Producer Cooperatives' and
Peasant Associations' communal farms. Farmers
provided land, labor and purchased inputs, such as
fertilizers. Improved varieties and technical advice
were provided by the respective research station staff.
From the packages developed on the research stations
and tested on farmers fields some innovations have
been adopted by farmers. However, in some areas
technologies tested were not accepted by farmers,
although they had shown good performance in the
research stations. The lessons learned were first to
modify the surveys to make them more interdisciplinary
in order to focus more directly on farmer problems
and opportunities. Hence the diagnostic survey tech-
niques (informal and formal surveys) were found
appropriate. Second, the need was recognized to go
beyond testing already developed packages to devel-
oping technologies with greater farmer participation
on farmers fields.
Diagnostic Surveys and On-Farm Experiments
Diagnostic surveys to describe the different farming
systems found around the research centers and sub-
centers have been initiated. The informal surveys have
been conducted with the involvement of social and
biological scientists and local extension personnel.
Through farmer interviews and secondary data, infor-
mation on the natural and biological circumstances of
the areas, farmer problems, circumstances, enterprise
patterns and resource use were collected. Formal
surveys to quantify and verify the informal survey find-
ings were conducted and reports were made available
to research scientists. As a result of the findings of the
diagnostic surveys, different types of on-farm experi-
ments (OFE) on crop varieties, fertilizers and other
management practices have been initiated. The on-farm
experiments vary according to the nature of the prob-

lems, the available recommendations and the potential
of the experiments to give immediate impact. Because
of these considerations, the OF Es are either exploratory,
determinative or verification type and are researcher,
farmer-researcher or farmer managed.
The diagnostic surveys and OFE's started in the
1984/85 crop season initially at two research centers
i.e., Bako (Western Zone) and Nazreth (Central.Zone)
with an International Development Research Center
(IDRC) grant for an FSR project. In 1985/86 the pro-
gram was extended to Holetta (Central Zone) and
Awassa (Southern Zone) and in 1986/87 to three
additional stations (Adet, Sinana and Jima) in the
Northwestern, Southeastern and Western Zones.
Currently the Agricultural Economics & Farming
Systems Research Department (DAEFSR) has pro-
grams at seven major research centers located in five
of the eight agricultural development zones of the
country. The staff consists of 1 expatriate advisor,
2 research officers, (M.Sc level), 11 assistant research
officers (B.Sc level) and 8 technical assistants. Two
of the members are agronomists while the rest are
agricultural economists. The staff are benefiting
from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center (CIMMYT)-University of Zimbabwe Regional
Training Workshops in FSR and a series of IAR-
CIMMYT in-country training workshops held from
1985 to 1987 (Mulugetta, 1987).

In the proceeding section it was attempted to out-
line the efforts made to initiate, expand, and institu-
tionalize the FSR approach in the Institute of Agri-
cultural Research. The research programs carried out
in the above mentioned areas have benefited from the
collaborative efforts of the commodity and/or dis-
ciplinary research staff. Informal and formal survey
results were brought to the attention of the research
scientists and used to identify suitable practices for
verification and to design on-station and on-farm
trials. The impact of the FSR program on the other
research programs will be discussed by referring to
initial results from two selected study sites where
both diagnostic surveys and on-farm experiments
have been in progress for the last three years. In
addition, survey results from one of the new sites
will be presented.

Nazreth Mixed Farming Systems Zone
This zone is a semi-arid area in the rift valley at an
altitude of 1400-1600 m. characterized by low and
erratic rainfall (600-800 mm per year). The topog-
raphy is mainly flat and small hills, and the soils
are brown, clay loam and sandy with low organic
matter. Major enterprises include maize, teff, sorghum
and haricot beans, which are produced for consump-
tion and as a source of cash. Livestock are a source of

draft power and can be sold during times of crop fail-
ure. The average land holding per family is about 3.5
ha and family size is 5 persons. The average number of
oxen per family is 2.5; they are used for land prepara-
tion and cultivation (Tilahun and Teshome, 1987).
Major constraints identified in the FSR survey
included (1) the erratic nature of the rainfall causing
moisture stress problems on maize, and (2) quela
attack on sorghum varieties. Research results on early
maturing varieties of sorghum and maize and soil and
water conservation practices were identified as avail-
able and possible solutions to the constraints.
Previous to the survey, sorghum research empha-
sized early maturing, high yielding, high nutritional
quality varieties in their testing. But their varieties
were highly susceptible to bird attacks; they expected
the farmers to guard against birds. The FSR survey
found that intensive guarding was neither acceptable
nor feasible to farmers in the area.
As a result, on-farm variety trials on early maturing,
bird tolerant sorghums were carried out from 1984
through 1986 with the active participation of sorghum
breeders and farmers. Farmers contributed in the
assessment in terms of taste, color, height preference
and tolerance to bird attacks of the varieties tested.
Twenty-two varieties were tested on farmers' fields
in 1984; from these five were selected for testing in
1985 and 1986. In 1987, the variety most appreciated
by farmers, for its low susceptibility to quela damage,
its early maturity, and its yield and economic per-
formance, was approved for release.
On-station experiments indicated that the tie-ridge
system proved to be effective in the conservation of
available soil moisture and was recommended for
on-farm testing. The three year on-farm testing data
revealed that the practice required excessive labor
input which the farmer was not able to provide. This
feedback is being used by small farm implements
researchers to develop appropriate tools for tie-ridging.
Early maturing maize varieties which will avoid
moisture stress were tested and are recommended for
the area. They have a high level of acceptance and are
replacing the long cycle local maize cultivars which
have had recurrent crop failures due to the changing
weather pattern.
Feedback from surveys and on-farm haricot bean
trials is also leading to new research thrusts and pro-
posed modifications of current recommendations.
Surveys showed that the period of bean weeding
overlaps with the farmers' busiest period; on-farm
trials showed that farmers use high seed rates in order
to suppress weeds. Station experiments are now explor-
ing the relationship between variety, seed rate and
weeding requirements in order to propose new recom-
mended varieties and seed rates which have the dual
objectives of high yield and low weeding requirements.

Bako Mixed Farming Systems Zone
The Bako zone is at an altitude of 1500 to 2000m.
and receives 1200mm of rainfall, most of which falls
from May to September. The topography is undulat-
ing and nitosols predominate. Major crops are maize,
teff, noog, and pepper and average cultivated area in
1985 was 1.5 ha. per family. Maize is the primary food
staple and most important crop in the system. Two-
thirds of the farmers own one or more oxen, which are
for land preparation and weeding (Legesse, et al., 1987).
Two examples of the most important problems
affecting farmers as identified in the survey, and the
responses of Department of Agricultural Economics
and Farming Systems Research (DAEFSR) and the
research center, are as follows:
(1) Family food shortages, June through August,
before the maize harvest. Previous to the survey,
maize improvement focused exclusively on the devel-
opment of long cycle varieties to take full advantage
of the long rainy season. Short cycle varieties, tested
on farmers' fields with the close collaboration of the
maize crop improvement program, are giving promis-
ing results. They are in great demand, as evidenced by
one farmer who took the thinned out plants from
the trial and transplanted them on his own field.
(2) Dry season feed shortage for livestock. DAEFSR
staff, in collaboration with Animal Feed and Nutrition
Department, are testing the relay cropping of perman-
ent fodder legumes into maize on farmers' fields.
Preliminary results show the fodder intercrops have
no negative effect on maize yields and that establish-
ment of two of the forage species, Desmodium and
Rhodes grass, is satisfactory.
Other activities of DAEFSR, Bako, in collaboration
with other departments at the Center include:
1. Verification of performance of improved sorghum
varieties under high and low systems of management.
2. Comparing costs and results of farmers' weeding
practices with those recommended by the station.
Preliminary results showed that farmers' practices
resulted in higher yields and low labor inputs than the
station's recommended practices.
3. Economic evaluation of fertilizer response under
farmer conditions. In this trial, non-experimental
variables are fixed at farmers' levels.

Sinana Farming System Zone
The IAR is in the process of establishing new re-
search centers in different agroecological zones of
the country. The role of the FSR approach in guiding
research programs in such new research centers is im-
The Sinana Agricultural Research Center is being
established in the Southeastern Zone of the country.
The Sinana zone is characterized by a bimodal rainfall,
namely the belq season (February-June) and the meher

(main) season (July-November). The area receives
about 750-950mm rainfall per annum or 375-475mm
per season. The elevation ranges between 2400-2500
meters and the area is a plain and slopes gently. Gen-
erally the terrain is suitable for arable farming, as a
result the very nature of this flat land has facilitated
the expansion of large scale state farms which occupy
25% of the cultivated area in the zone. Major crops
grown are barley and wheat while other crops include
field peas, faba beans and potatoes (Alemayehu and
An informal survey has been launched in the area
which examines farmer circumstances, enterprise
pattern and end use, resource availability and use,
crop and livestock practices, principal farmer prob-
lems and possible interventions. The high priority
problems include aphid damage on meher barley,
and wheat, shortage of dry season feed, shortage of
fuelwood, and weed damage on belq barley. Medium
priority problems include family food shortages (May/
June), peak period labor shortages (July/August),
and low soil fertility. Based on these problems possible
solutions and opportunities were identified in con-
sultation with concerned national research program
commodity coordinators. Several on-station and on-
farm trials of short-term and medium-term nature
are proposed. The on-station and on-farm experi-
ments proposed are in response to their possible
contribution in alleviating the high and medium
priority production constraints mentioned earlier.
The experiments cover the fields of agronomy, soils,
crop protection and forage agronomy.

Several issues concerning the institutionalization
of farming systems research in IAR have arisen as the
program has expanded.
Agronomists and staff from other disciplines
in the DAEFSR
Two of the seven stations with DAEFSR divisions
have agronomists. Having a full-time agronomist on
the team ensures that agronomic considerations are
taken into account at all stages; diagnosing farmer
problems and designing, implementing, and evaluating
the results of on-farm experiments. Moreover, the
agronomist in DAEFSR is in a better position technical-
ly to communicate with staff of other departments. The
disadvantage of including an agronomist in the division,
in theory, is that this may serve to drive a wedge be-
tween the Agronomy department and DAEFSR,
leading to wasteful overlapping of activities.
Our experience thus far at IAR is that it is desirable,
but not essential, that a core FSR team composed of
an agricultural economist, an agronomist, and an
animal production specialist be stationed within
DAEFSR at each research center. Due to the shortage

of agronomists and animal production specialists and
the needs of their respective departments for their
services, it has usually not been possible to include
them in DAEFSR. However, this has not posed insur-
mountable problems; strong collaboration between
departments has permitted agronomists and livestock
scientists to take an active role in both surveys and
on-farm experiments. Moreover, collaboration with the
Agronomy department is not greatly affected in one
way or another by the presence of agronomists in the
The progress in the area of collaboration between
DAEFSR and other departments is due to activities
at six different levels. First, the General Manager is
directly addressing the issue of the importance of
collaboration in workshops and meetings with staff.
Second, research center managers are insisting that
scientists work together in diagnosing problems and
implementing on-farm trials. Third, exchanges be-
tween the DAEFSR head and other department
heads and center managers are important in bringing
about collaboration. Fourth, individual scientists
from different departments at a station develop close
working relationships and collaborate on surveys and
trials. Fifth, expatriates from international organiza-
tions working with DAEFSR and other departments
promote interaction between the two departments.
Sixth, IAR administrative procedures are flexible
enough to permit staff from one department to collab-
orate with staff from DAEFSR in surveys and experi-
ments, even on very short notice.
In summary, we do not feel it necessary that a range
of disciplines be housed within DAEFSR for effective
interdisciplinary work to take place. Strong interdisci-
plinary collaboration is of course essential but can be
established by building effective working relationships
among departments.
Conducting exploratory, determinative and
verification trials on farmers' fields.
There is a consensus in IAR that new technologies
should always be verified on farmers' fields before
they are recommended for use by farmers. An im-
portant issue facing the Institute is whether, and
under what conditions, exploratory and determinative
trials should be conducted on farmers' fields. The
advantages of conducting such trials with farmers is
that the natural and bilolgical conditions of the trial
are likely to be more representative of the farm com-
munity than are those at the station. Moreover, our
experiences show that farmer participation in the trial
and evaluation of the treatments can help guide re-
searchers in modifying the technology at an early stage
of development..The disadvantages of conducting such
trials on farmers' fields is that it is difficult to control
the levels of experimental and non-experimental
variables; thus coefficients of variation may be high

and significant differences among treatments may be
difficult to obtain. Furthermore, we have sometimes
found that larger, complicated trials are confusing
for the farmer to evaluate and difficult for both
researchers and farmers to manage properly.
The division of labor between DAEFSR and
other departments
Previously, DAEFSR was conducting trials to address
whatever problem they identified in their surveys. The
advantage of this approach was that the department
had a free rein in conducting experiments; the disad-
vantages were that commodity/disciplinary researchers
might not be involved in a DAEFSR trial which con-
cerned their field. Moreover, in a few cases there was
even a wasteful duplication of effort. Current policy
is that DAEFSR only conduct verification trials; of
course, DAEFSR can collaborate with other depart-
ments conducting on-farm trials.
This policy will hopefully serve to strengthen
linkages between DAEFSR and other departments.
For example, if a DAEFSR survey indicates that weeds
are the principal constraint and no technologies to
solve the problem are available, DAEFSR staff must
collaborate with the weed scientists, who will lead
any weed control trials to sovle the problem. The
onus is on the DAEFSR staff to provide the weed
researcher with the information on farmers' weeding
practices and other circumstances required to plan
experiments which will help farmers to solve their
weed problems. Involvement of the weed scientist
in the informal farmer survey, even for a very brief
period, can help build a common strategy acceptable
to both DAEFSR and weed scientists for overcoming
the weed problem.
Other important issues related to farming systems
research that the DAEFSR is currently addressing are
as follows:
1. How can the FSR build stronger linkages with the
Ministry of Agriculture's extension service? Recently,
Research Extension Liaison Committees have been
formed and are helping to develop research programs
and to formulate extension recommendations. How
can extension staff, both at the specialist level and at
the field agent level, participate more effectively in
surveys and on-farm trial management?
2. At what stage in the variety release process should
new varieties be evaluated on farmers fields? This issue

is related to the one above concerning exploratory
and determinative trials. Current IAR policy is that
varieties are evaluated on farmer's fields only after
they are recommended and released. In a few instances
in recent years, such as the cases of sorghum at Nazreth
and early maturing maize at Bako, on-farm tests have
included promising varieties which had not yet been
3. How can the work being done in farming systems
research contribute to more effective policy design and
implementation? How can better links be created with
policy makers so they can benefit from the information
being generated at he micro level in FSR surveys and

The problem of technology non-adoption and FSR's
approach to solving these problems has helped make it
an integral part of national and international agricul-
tural research institutions. Our experience indicates
that the continued use of FSR in agricultural research
in Ethiopia is highly justified. FSR has helped us in
problem identification and technology development
and evaluation. It has strengthened the interaction be-
tween researchers, extensionists and farmers. The
flexibility of the approach to serve specific local cir-
cumstances is also found desirable. We hope that
exchange of regional experiences will help in further
refining the methodology. O

1. Alemayehu Mamo and Steven Franzel, 1987. "Initial Results
of Informal Survey: Sinana Mixed Farming Systems Zone"
Working Paper No. 1/87, Department of Agricultural Eco-
nomics & Farming System Research, Institute of Agricultural
Research, Addis Ababa.
2. Legesse Dadi, Gemechu Gedeno, Tesfaye Kumsa, and Getahun
Degu, 1986. "Bako Mixed Farming System Zone Survey
Report," Research Project No. 1/87, Department of Agricul-
tural Economics and Farming Systems Research, Institute of
Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa.
3. Mulugetta Mekuria, 1987. "Farming Systems Research in
Ethiopia: Review of Experiences." Paper presented at the
Second International Conference on Desert Development,
25-31 January, 1987, Cairo.
4. Tilahun Mulato and Teshome Regassa, 1986. "Nazreth
Mixed Farming System Zone Survey Report," Research
Report No. 2/87, Department of Agricultural Economics
and Farming Systems Research, Institute of Agricultural
Research, Addis Ababa.

The FSSP newsletter is published quarterly by the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP), which is funded by AID Contract No. DAN-4099-A-002083-00
and administered by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 32611. IFAS is an Equal Employment
Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. The FSSP newsletter encourages the contribution of stories, pictures and ideas, which should be sent to FSSP
Editor, 3028 McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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